Staff

Head Office

CEO, Admin and Finance

Chris Head
CEO

Hello, I am Chris Head and I was delighted to take on the job of chief executive of Meningitis Research Foundation at the end of 2007, having previously done similar roles at two other national health-care charities, Penny Brohn CancerCare and CLIC UK (Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood).

I think the great thing about the Foundation is that, as well as funding the vital medical research which will finally lead to cures for meningitis and septicaemia, we also support people affected. We offer an opportunity, through our Membership scheme, for everyone to become directly involved in our work, particularly through media campaigns and fundraising, and I am constantly grateful for the energy and commitment of our thousands of supporters.

As a member of the Institute of Fundraising, a former board member of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, I believe strongly in championing professional standards in the charity sector. I am very fortunate that the dedication and expertise of my colleagues here is making a real difference people affected by and at risk from meningitis and septicaemia, both in the UK and abroad. 

Away from work I am an enthusiastic amateur musician and enjoy life with my family in Bath.

Paul George
Office Manager and PA to CEO

I have been with MRF since 1995, initially working 3 hours a day while managing a young family. Since then I have slowly become full time and moved over from fundraising to the position of office manager.

I am a keen supporter Charlton Athletic.

Kelly Latham
Finance Manager

Hi I'm Kelly  and I've been working for MRF since May 2004 as the Finance Manager.

My main role is to process all the income and expenditure for the whole charity including satellite offices and preparing monthly management accounts, but colleagues would agree an important part of my job is paying their wages!

I enjoy working for the charity and hopefully one day I will be able to keep on top of my filing!


Sue Gillett
Cashier

My name is Sue Gillett and I've been working for the charity since November 1994 - how time flies!

I'm the cashier and I deal with all the financial paperwork that comes into the charity, such as invoices, expenses forms, purchase orders and, more seriously, the banking.

I also spend time trying to collect tea and coffee funds from the staff, this is sometimes the hardest part of my job.

Communications and Campaigns

This team uses every available form of communication to promote the charity and its work - financing vital research, raising awareness, supporting those affected by meningitis and septicaemia, and fundraising.

We deliver assorted high-profile campaigns, such as Meningitis Awareness Week, and are especially thankful to our members who allow us to use their case histories to publicise our vision for a world free of meningitis and septicaemia.

Jane Futrell
Head of Communications and Campaigns


My name is Jane Futrell and I head up of the Communications and Campaign team. I joined the charity because I enjoy working with people who are making a difference and thrive on delivering projects which will bring tangible benefits for a wide range of people.
I oversee everything from press campaigns and parliamentary lobbying to the online site and leaflets for members of the public and health professionals.

I was a newspaper reporter in the north and south of England before joining the BBC in 1985 as a publicist in Manchester and then London. I left the BBC in 2011 after nearly 10 years as first Head of International Marketing Communications for BBC World Service and then Head of Brand Identity for BBC Global News.

Adrian Robson
Communications Manager

Hi. I'm Adrian Robson. I work in the Communications Department at the Foundation and have done since 1999.

I look after lots of e-communications, like this website and the social media, so if someone's tweeting or messaging on Facebook, it's usually me.

I also work to increase media coverage of meningitis and septicaemia and the work of MRF.

Having a true understanding of the devastating effects of the diseases, through our Members, continues to be my main motivation.

Read our Members' stories on site in the Book of Experience

Becky Pierce-Jones
PR Manager

My name is Becky Pierce-Jones and I have recently joined MRF as PR Manager. I’m part of the Communications Team and my role is to promote the charity, its aims and the work of our researchers, members and fantastic fundraisers across the UK and Ireland.

In my short time at MRF I have already spoken to some amazing people who have beaten the disease but with staggering life time after effects and those that have lost a loved one.

Personal experiences of the disease is what makes a story interesting to the media and will enable us to achieve more coverage of the work we are doing so if you have a story to tell please do get in touch.

I look forward to hearing your news.

Amy Luker
Communications Officer

Hi, I’m Amy Luker and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) in October 2012 as a Communications Officer. My role is to look after the various publications we produce and to support the Communications Team with PR, events and e-communications.

I am so pleased to be working for MRF and it is very rewarding to know that the work I do supports the many people who have been affected by meningitis and septicaemia.

I'm on maternity leave at the moment.



Membership & Support

Shirley Gieron
Head of Helpline and Membership


Hi, I'm Shirley and I lead a team of dedicated staff and nurses working within the Helpline and Membership Department.

My work with Members and individuals who have personal experience of meningitis and septicaemia includes home visits, the Telephone Befriending Network, giving talks to health professionals and community groups, running Members' Days and linking with other agencies and charities dealing with neurological and physical disabilities.

I feel privileged to support people affected by these diseases through times of extreme crisis, sharing their experiences and working with them through life changing trauma.

Henry Barnes
Membership and Support Officer

Hi. My name is Henry and I’ve recently joined Meningitis Research Foundation as Membership and Support Officer. Though not a scientist, medical research has long been an interest of mine and I’m really excited to be working for such a successful and forward thinking charity.

My role here is immensely varied; from speaking to people on the helpline and providing information and support to people in need, to giving awareness raising talks to community groups or supporting volunteers to raise awareness within their communities - I’ll be doing a little bit of everything! I look forward to working closely with our members to help spread awareness of the potentially devastating effects of meningitis and septicaemia.

In my spare time I enjoy reading old books and playing piano and guitar, though not simultaneously!

Gemma Windle
Membership Fundraising Assistant

I joined Meningitis Research Foundation fresh out of University, having been deeply involved with student charity fundraising society RAG (alongside a degree in Psychology and Zoology- I often forget to mention that bit!). Having spent 6 months working with our student fundraisers on their fundraising for the Kilimanjaro climb, I am now working in the Membership and Support office. I assist our members and supporters with fundraising activities they have organised themselves. This can be anything and everything including cake sales, tough mudder runs, live music events and fundraising in schools.

I enjoy the challenge of such variety, and love to see people achieving so much through their fundraising, although it is often in the wake of terrible experiences of this awful disease.

Whether you have a great idea for a fundraiser or don’t know where to start, I’d love to hear from you and support you with your fundraising. gemmw@meningitis.org

Alison Pack
MeningitisWise Officer

Hi, I’m Alison and I joined the Foundation in September 2012 as the MeningitisWise Officer. I take helpline calls and answer emails from people with all sorts of queries about meningitis and septicaemia, including symptoms and after effects, and offer them support if they or their loved ones are affected.

I raise awareness of the disease by sharing information with individuals, schools, nurseries, colleges, communities and health professionals. I can see the Foundation’s work is making a real difference.

I look forward to meeting some of our amazing members and befrienders over the coming months.

 

Research and Medical Information

Linda Glennie Linda Glennie
Head of Research and Medical Information


I'm Linda Glennie and I'm Head of Research and Medical Information at MRF where I've worked since 1997.

I work with scientists and health professionals across a range of disciplines to develop information materials for the public and for health professionals, and I've co-authored several educational resources for nurses and trainee doctors. I also organise  the scientific programme for the Foundation’s biennial international conferences.

I'm responsible for managing the administration, peer review and monitoring of the Foundation’s international research programme. In collaboration with the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol I manage the Impact of Meningitis project.

I was a member of the Guideline Development Group for the NICE guideline on Bacterial Meningitis and Meningococcal Septicaemia, published June 2010.

I have a background in biological sciences.

Claire Wright Claire Wright
Medical Information Officer


My name is Claire and my role as Medical Information Officer involves working on the educational materials that MRF distributes to health professionals and the public, making sure that it is up to date with findings from current research. 

I also try to answer specific medical questions we receive about meningitis and septicaemia and promote the charity's work at conferences around the country. 

It’s very rewarding to work on awareness literature which may go on to help save lives and support those who have been affected by this disease.

Rachel Perrin Gill Currie
Research Officer


Hi, my name is Gill and my role puts me in contact with all the research projects that the charity is funding.

Along with the administration and monitoring of grants, I also help to translate scientific information from the projects into more manageable information for this website and our newsletter, Microscope.

Another important way to link people to our funded research is through our site visit programme, which I help manage.

Being able to track some of the latest research into meningitis and septicaemia is a real privilege, and helping communicate this to the public and affected people is both interesting and rewarding.

 

Rachel Perrin Rachel Perrin
International Development Officer


Hi, I’m Rachel. Working alongside our international advisory group, my role is to expand the work we’re doing to fight meningitis and septicaemia in Africa, where the burden from these diseases is very high.

I am overseeing the new Action Meningitis project in Malawi, which is committed to reducing the number of child deaths and after effects caused by meningitis illness.

I’m working with the project manager based in Blantyre to plan and implement the different parts of the project; a radio campaign to raise awareness of meningitis disease, the introduction of triage protocols using mobile technology in primary clinics to identify severely ill children, and distribution of ambulance bicycles to rural communities needing extra transport.

Previous research funded by MRF identified key barriers to treatment of meningitis in Malawi, and resulted in the Action Meningitis project through consultation with medical researchers and clinicians in Blantyre. I support the project from the Head Office, collaborating with all departments to manage, promote, and fundraise for Action Meningitis, to put MRF research and expertise into action in Malawi where there is high burden of meningitis disease.

 

Fundraising and Development

Mike Taylor
Head of Fundraising

I’ve been running my own management training consultancy since 1995, and am excited to have joined MRF in February 2012.

I’m also Chair of Trustees for local arts organisation Circomedia, a custody visitor at our local inner city police station, and mentor for an organisation that supports new social entrepreneurs.

I host a website for local runners, I’m a keen cyclist (I love my 11 mile commute!), and I’ve led charity challenge expeditions in S America, Africa, China, Borneo, and Nepal.

If you wish to share any thoughts, ideas or feedback that can help us here at MRF, please feel free to contact me.

LinkedIn

Ian Beningfield
Deputy Head of Fundraising

Social and new media fan, part time geek and prolific coffee drinker. I've been with the charity since 2004, in the past I was involved with many of the charity's community events including most recently the running programme.

These days I spend a lot of my time finding new ways to use technology and the web to boost our fundraising, stay in contact with our Members and supporters and baffle my colleagues with jargon.

Susie Bailey Susie Bailey
Fundraising Officer

Hi I’m Susie and I’m a Community Fundraising Officer.

I’ll be working mainly with Universities and RAGs on Raids, mega raids and the big one ‘London Loot’ in April. I’m also in charge of our student Kili climb as well as some of the runs.

If you ever fancy doing any collecting for MRF then let me know, as we always have lots of permits on offer all across the country. I look forward to meeting lots of you at our events.

Get in touch at susieb@meningitis.org

Nikki May Nikki Smith
Fundraising Assistant

Hi, I'm Nikki.

I joined MRF in 2010 and thoroughly enjoy working in the Fundraising team.

If you’re interested in taking part in any of the following runs; London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Bath Half Marathon, Cardiff Half Marathon, Reading Half Marathon, Great Manchester or Great South Run then please get in touch to find out how you could be part of the MRF team. Or if you feel a bit more ambitious and would like to support MRF by taking part in a parachute jump or one of our overseas challenges then contact me so we can arrange for you to take part in the experience of a lifetime while raising money for a fantastic cause.

From working as a Community Fundraising Officer, I get to meet lots of our supporters of the charity at our events throughout the year and it’s fantastic to see so many achieve the high fundraising targets they set themselves. I look forward to meeting many more supporters of MRF at future events.
nikkis@meningitis.org

I'm on maternity leave at the moment.


Jack Cunliffe

Hi, I focus the majority of my time working with the future leaders of the new world – students.

Along with Susie and Tom I assist in recruiting students for the Kilimanjaro trek and help them to meet their fundraising targets.

I also spend a lot of time looking after a few of the U.K based challenges.

If you are interested in Tough Guy, Bupa 10k, the Bristol Half Marathon or Fright Hike then please get in touch, I would love to have you on the team. The best part of this job is talking to the donors, the people who support this charity, peoples' capability for kindness is a constant source of pleasure.


Tom DeFraine
Events Fundraising Assistant


Hi I’m Tom and I’ve recently joined the Fundraising team at Meningitis Research Foundation!

I’ll be working mainly with Universities and RAGs on raids and megaraids as well as organising London Loot in April. I’m also in charge of our Big Fun Runs across the country.

If you fancy a challenge or want to shake a bucket for us then get in touch – we always have plenty of permits up and down the country.


Esther Trackman
Community Fundraising Assistant


Hi, I’m Esther

I’m looking after parachuting and some of our key running events – Bath Half Marathon, Silverstone Half Marathon, Reading Half Marathon, Great Manchester 10k, Run to the Beat, Great North Run and Great South Run.

My aim is to make sure anyone taking part in an event for us has the best possible experience and achieves everything they set out to do. It’s wonderful to see people reach and surpass their goals, especially as so many of the people I work with are taking part because they have a personal connection with the cause. Meeting supporters at the events is my favourite part of the job, so if you sign up for one of the runs I’m looking after I may well see you soon!

esthert@meningitis.org


Satellite Offices

We have offices in:

Scotland

Mary Millar
Scotland Office Manager


I'm Mary Millar and I'm the Scotland Manager. I joined MRF in July 2009.

My background is in marketing and advertising within the private sector, skills which I have found useful in promoting the Foundation further in Scotland, and driving forward increased awareness, support and fundraising campaigns.

I really enjoy being involved with all our Scottish Members and Supporters, and helping to make a difference to our important cause.

Alison Baker
Fundraising Officer


Hi, I'm Alison and I work in the Edinburgh office of the Foundation.

I've been working in a fundrasing role since 2006 and I thoroughly enjoy the large variety of fundraising that our office deals with.

I'm happy to help with all things fundraising in Scotland.


Ashleigh Hunt
Office/Fundraising Administrator


Hi, I’m Ashleigh and I started work with the Foundation in 2012. I have spent the last four years at university fundraising for different charities across Scotland and the UK.

I can’t wait to get more involved with all the MRF events and I am really enjoying meeting all the volunteers and supporters. I am always happy to receive any questions, enquiries or information so do not hesitate to get in touch.


Dawn Carrie
Office/Fundraising Administrator


Hi , I'm Dawn and I started at the Foundation in August 2009 and as an Office and Fundraising Assistant in the Edinburgh Office.

As well ensuring the smooth running of the office, my role includes organising street, supermarket and can collections in Scotland as well as helping with fundraising events. I rely on the help of all our wonderful volunteers, members and supporters, who I thoroughly enjoy meeting.




Northern Ireland

Diane McConnell
Ireland Manager

I have been with the charity since 5 April 1995 and am the Ireland manager - which incorporates two offices, Belfast and Dublin.

I love my job and get great satisfaction from working with members and supporters of the charity who are as committed to the cause as I am.

I have four grown up children and one grandson. I like family Sundays and walk and read when I get the time.

Emma McNeill
Fundraising Officer


I’m Emma McNeil and I work as a Fundraising Officer in our Belfast office and have been with the Foundation since 14th March 2007. I feel working for Meningitis Research Foundation is extremely rewarding and although I have been amazed by people’s fundraising efforts I have also been saddened at how meningitis and septicaemia can affect and devastate lives. This is why I am passionate about my role.

Ifeel honoured to work with our members and supporters and hearing howmeningitis and septicaemia has devastated so many lives reminds me how vital our work at MRF is.

Kathryn McAuley
Medical Information Officer


Hi, I’m Kathryn McAuley. I am the Medical Information Officer for the Northern Ireland Office. I have a background in Biomedical science and genetics.

My role with MRF is varied and includes working with health professionals to provide up to date information, implementing public awareness campaigns and providing support to those people affected by meningitis and septicaemia.

It’s very rewarding to raise public awareness which may go on to help save a live and a great privilege to provide support to those who have been affected by this disease.


Keli Wilkinson
Fundraising Officer


I work as a Fundraising Officer in our Belfast Office and have been with the Foundation since October 2007.

The role is extremely varied and there is never a dull moment which is great! I work closely with Emma Collins, the other fundraiser in the office, although I am responsible for parachute jumps, overseas challenges, corporate fundraising, marathons and that's just for starters!

I really enjoy talking to members and supporters and meeting them at events as I think that makes all the difference. I really enjoy being able to help people with their fundraising ideas and find the role very rewarding.

We are a small team in Belfast but we all work very well together which makes it a great place to work!

Ireland

Diane McConnell
Ireland Manager

I have been with the charity since 5 April 1995 and am the Ireland manager - which incorporates two offices, Belfast and Dublin.

I love my job and get great satisfaction from working with members and supporters of the charity who are as committed to the cause as I am.

I have four grown up children and one grandson. I like family Sundays and walk and read when I get the time.


Monika Marchlewicz
Fundraising Officer in Ireland


I work as a Fundraising Officer for Dublin office and have been with the Foundation since 29 May 2006.

As the only fundraiser in the office I'm responsible for generating the income and coordinating every aspect of the fundraising activity.

The charity gives me not only a great opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge but also a possibility to meet wonderful and inspirational people.

In my spare time I enjoy life the best I can.


Andy Cochrane
Medical Information Officer


I’m the Medical Information Office in the Dublin Office.

I’ve lived in Ireland for over 20 years and have a background in paediatric nursing, and more recently, psychology.

I’m looking forward to learning from and sharing with those affected by meningitis and septicaemia.

Wioletta Tometczak
Administrative Officer


It's good to work in a demanding, fast-paced multi-tasking office and to know that we are helping other people.

Michael Bendicio Arizala
Bacterial Meningitis
Bacterial Meningitis at 37

I'm still working but I easily become tired and my body is slightly out of balance.

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